Brett McGurkHeadshot

Brett McGurk

Top National Security Advisor who served under three consecutive U.S. Presidents; Former Special Envoy in the Campaign to Defeat ISIS; MSNBC Analyst; Columbia Law School Graduate

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One of the longest-serving and most effective national security experts of his generation, Brett McGurk served as a top national security advisor under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. He has been deeply involved in Middle East military strategy, diplomacy, and U.S. policy. 

McGurk’s unparalleled vantage point gives audiences an insider’s view on today’s geopolitical climate and America’s role on the ever-changing world stage, from Syria and Iran to complications involving Ukraine. He outlines some of the toughest diplomatic challenges of our time, providing insight on how to overcome deadlocks, make decisions under fire, and use negotiations for a successful conclusion – all skills that transcend from public to private and business sectors. 

Serving as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan under President Bush, McGurk helped develop “The Surge”: a fundamental and successful shift in Iraq war strategy. Under President Obama, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, spearheading 14 months of secret talks with Iran that led to a prisoner swap and release of six Americans. 

McGurk then served at the U.S. Department of State as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He helped build the coalition of 75 countries and four international organizations – the largest in history to confront ISIS. He led the campaign under Presidents Obama and Trump before resigning his position in December 2018 following Trump’s order to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria.  

President Bush has described McGurk as part of a “band of brothers” inside the White House at a critical phase of the Iraq war. President Obama has called him one of his “closest advisors” on the Middle East. Condoleezza Rice has referred to him as the “consummate professional diplomat.” The New York Times has cited him as “a doer” in high-stakes negotiations. He is also a senior foreign affairs analyst with MSNBC. McGurk is currently authoring a book entitled Three Presidents, Three Wars for publication by Crown in 2021.

Top National Security Advisor who served under three consecutive U.S. Presidents; Former Special Envoy in the Campaign to Defeat ISIS; MSNBC Analyst; Columbia Law School Graduate
Keywords: Leadership; World Affairs; Global Security Threats

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